Image Credit: Emily Phelan
February marks the beginning of LGBT+ History Month and the University and YUSU will be putting on events all month to recognise the occasion.
LGBT+ History month originated in the 1990’s and is a history of LGBTQ+ rights, a history that until recently was often ignored. The University’s theme this year is “Body, Mind and Spirit” and aims to increase the visibility of the community’s experiences, culture and society.
This month’s events kicked off last week with the podcast ‘The Log Books’ which explores the significance of the LGBTQ+ helpline Switchboard, established in 1974. Later in the month there will be a showing of the LGBTQ+ Networks film ‘Any Other Business’, a story of a lesbian cisgender officer working at Greenwell Trust and Voice.
The film will be followed by a Question and Answer session with the filmmakers.
There will also be a discussion session on how we can take further action in decolonising the curriculum, by making it more inclusive to history such as LGBT+ history, which is often overlooked in education. The discussion will also look at how LGBTQ+ allies can play a greater role in helping to diversify the curriculum. Registration is available online for all these events.
Nouse spoke to LGBTQ+ officer Matt Rogan about the significance of LGBT+ History month for those at the University and in comparison to Pride Month and he stated that: “It’s important for the University to acknowledge History Month because it gives us a chance to reflect and look at the history of LGBTQ+ rights, the history that has built up to many of the rights we have today. Pride Month is arguably more celebratory, whereas LGBT+ History Month is reflective.”
“I don’t think History Month gets as much attention compared to Pride Month – it is after all comparatively more recent. Plus Pride Month is arguably given more visibility: we see so many things branded with rainbows in June…..but not in February!”
In addition to the University’s work, YUSU is running two flagship events; guest talks from Jonanthan Blake who is part of the HIV/AIDS and LGSM Movement and Matthew Todd, the author of “Straight Jacket- Overcoming Society’s Legacy of Gay Shame” who will discuss mental health in the LGBTQ+ community.
The University has already tried to increase awareness of the LGBTQ+ community by creating the LGBTQ+ road crossing and naming one of the new Campus East colleges, the Anne Lister college after the famous 19th century LGBTQ+ diarist. A lecture will be held on “Anne Lister’s Natural and Queer History” this month and is available to book tickets for.
Nouse asked Rogan about the importance of this representation and he said that, “it is so important for the community to see this representation because it shows that we’re recognised by the University. No, it’s not perfect – more needs to be done – but it’s good that we have that symbolism present, as it shows the University are taking small yet progressive steps.”